9 Indian Dog Breeds You Never Knew About
last updated 16th, Jul 2021,
Call it fascination. Call it obsession. Call it social conformity. Most of the dogs that we choose to share space with ‘have’ to be pedigreed breeds. Not just any pedigree, but specifically the European and American breeds. Most of the dog breeds we see today like the Dalmatian, German Shepherd, the Pug, or the Saint Bernard are influenced by media. And even the people owning these breeds sometimes agree they didn't even know about them before they were featured on TV.
In the struggle to be ‘modern’ and ‘forward-thinking’ the only ones who suffer are the poor Indian dogs. No, this article is not in defence of those poor abandoned street dogs. Because the Indies (as we like to call them) have had recent upsurge in attention and adoptions. But the real victims and our dear protagonists are the Indian dog breeds. Breeds that were developed in India and originate from our country but have been ignored so much that are now highly depleted in numbers.
Most of these breeds are quite unheard of let alone seen by most of the people in India. The fad for international breeds leading to over-breeding of the popular Western breeds has also resulted in some Indian breeds almost becoming extinct. Certain individuals across the country slowly realised this issue and decided to revive many such breeds. Here is a list of 9 breeds that belong to India:
One of the many sighthound breeds originating in India, this dog is bred by royal families in Chippiparai near Madurai district Tamil Nadu. Primarily used for hunting boar, deer and hare; it was later kept as a symbol of royalty and dignity.
The most primitive and ancient breed of dog known to us that belongs to India is this Indian Pariah. A relative of Dingo, this breed has no trace of genetic tweaking or modification from the human side. Owing to this, they share an appearance with various other primitve pariah-type dogs around the world like the Basenji (Africa) , Dingo (Australia), Podengo (Australia) etc.
Note: Do not mistake this breed for the stray/ mongrel dogs we see on the streets as they have a lot of other breeds mixed in them over the years. Whereas the INDog (name coined for this breed) is meant to be pure in their primitive heritage.
This breed is known by various names across different cultures and groups. Known as ‘Karwani’ by village-folk around the Deccan Plateau region, who usually adopt this breed as companions for hunting and guarding. KCI (Kennel Club of India) recognizes this breed as ‘Caravan Hound’ whereas INKC (Indian National Kennel Club) opts for the name ‘Mudhol Hound’. To add to that, the feathered variety of this breed is known as ‘Pashmi’. Talk about one dog - multiple personalities.
One of the more popular names in the list, the Rampur Greyhound (alternate name) is native to the Rampur region in Northern India, that lies between Delhi and Bareily. It was a preferred breed by Maharajas of this region to hunt big game and protect against fierce animals like jackals, lions, tigers, leopards and panthers. The Rampur Hound is known for its endurance as it was built to cover large distances at great speeds.
5. Indian Mastiff
Also known as Bully Kutta, this dog shares origins from both India and Pakistan and is predominantly found in the Punjab region. They are the most common choice for guard dogs but unfortunately, many of these dogs are still bred and nurtured for dog fighting purposes.
This breed is an Indian guard dog developed in the Rajapalayam region in Tamil Nadu. It was believed that they were used to fight against British Cavalry in a few battles. The most prized look is the milky-white coat with pink nose, although the whiter mutations come with a higher chance of deafness as with all other white coat dog breeds. Lately, they are being used by the Indian army as guards along the Kashmir border.
Another hound from South India, the Kombai (Combai) was bred to hunt boar, bison and deer since as early as the 9th Century. In comparison with the Rajapalayam, the Kombai has a tan coat with usually a black muzzle. The jaws are wider and much stronger as well. In recent times, this breed is highly endangered and can be found in scarcity in a few regions and a couple of specialized kennels.
Another mastiff-type dog breed, Gaddi was developed in the Himalayan region by a tribe of the same name. Over the years, the Gaddi has become reputed to be a fierce guard dog to protect against leopards and other predators. At the same time, they are revered as intelligent enough to be herding dogs as well. As opposed to the Indian Mastiff, the Gaddi Kutta is not considered to be a fighting dog.
Kanni is a rare indigenous breed of sighthound also bred in Tamil Nadu. They are closely related to the Chippiparai and are said to be descendants of the Saluki. These breeds were built to hunt deer as they are very agile and light on their feet. Usually a silent dog, they are great as guards of their owners and easy to train. However, they act independant when on a hunt as is their disposition. This is one of the rarest breeds on the list, almost on the verge of extinction. Due to the lack of proper specimen available, no proper effort has been taken to revive the Kanni breed.
Please share more Indian breeds you may know of.